Thursday, August 01, 2013

Loving ... Philip Wilkerson’s latest album ... “Sojourner”

Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is it in the ear of the listener ... we attribute significance to a piece of art based on the reaction we feel ... it moves us in a way that forms how we see or hear the piece ... it is what we do ... it is what I do.

With this in mind, I come to Philip Wilkerson’s latest album ... “Sojourner”. My initial reaction to this release was more spiritual than emotional, mental or physical. This album moves me in a deeply personal and spiritual way ... it resonates with me ... connects with me in a manner that few albums do.

Whether that is Wilkerson’s intention with this album is unknown but I found it deeply moving and remarkably contemplative. I've spoken before about how music ... especially ambient music ... can create space to think and provide respite from the busyness of daily life. This is so true with “Sojourner”. The 6 tracks provide their solace over 72 minutes ... they give me space ... they gently drown out all that is around me and leave me to myself. I love this.

We all need time out. We are cyclical beings who move between periods of activity and periods of rest ... periods of up and periods of down. “Sojourner” fits nicely into the downtime of rest ... not that I'd encourage people to plug in and then fall asleep ... albeit that is a probable outcome of this piece. More this album fits nicely in those moments where we need to close down, switch off and recharge.

Some folks advocate the taking of a sabbath ... a time to recharge and rest from work ... to do the opposite of what you do in your day-to-day working life. I get this and try to take time out in my week to spend with my family and to rest ... and I now have a soundtrack to aid me in this pursuit.

The tracks on “Sojourner” are of Wilkerson’s exacting level of quality ... they are elegant pieces, filled with a graciousness that I find truly engaging. They are unhurried expressions of a better life ... expressions that surround you with their warmth ... expressions of comfort and of peace.

Yes ... there is a sense of yearning that is evident ... and the journey the ’sojourner’ is on isn’t always clear cut, as articulated in the final track - the 22 minute opus “the Awaiting Presence” ... but, as it is with all meaningful journeys, it is not the destination that matters so much as it is the journey ... and this is a beautiful journey.

One I am glad to have taken.

One I will, without doubt, take again.

If ambient music is your thing then I heartily recommend this release. It is a work of beauty ... one that, I hope, resonates with you deep inside.


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